REACT @ Carloforte!

In line with REACT project’s aim, activities in Carloforte will focus on the reduction of fossil fuel and conventional energy consumption. To do this, the pilot couples to existing renewable energy sources already present on the island and deploys pilot technologies consisting of: batteries and heat pumps provided by Midac and Mitsubishi Electric, smart meter energy hubs and the REACT platform. 

Over the first 18 months of the project, a public call of interest was organised by R2M with the Municipality of Carloforte to present and explain the REACT project and its objectives. The citizens have shown interest in REACT and they actively participated in the three meetings organised on the island (September and November 2019, August 2020). In the first two meetings, 12 private dwellings were included in the project demonstration, together with 7 public buildings, and in the third meeting 11 additional dwellings were identified for a total of 30 buildings for the demonstration of the pilot. The survey work is complete at 19 buildings (7 public and 12 private dwellings) but due to a recent outbreak of COVID on the island, the remaining surveys planned for the end of August 2020 have been postponed to September 2020. Starting with the 30 buildings involved in the demonstration scenario, and focus of the project, the ultimate goal is to involve the entire community and work together toward the energy autonomy of the island via replication activities.

The REACT project adopts smart grid technologies and transformed the Pilot Energy Community into a “Virtual Power Plant”, that enables the different functionalities of the energy system (e.g. prosumer, grid balancing, congestion) otherwise blocked under the current Italian regulation, in particular self-consumption and energy injection to the grid (Italy has not yet incorporated the EU directive 2018/2001). The VPP is an intelligent ICT platform which aggregates distributed resources into a coordinated and managed portfolio, which acts as a single large entity similar to a conventional power plant, enabling better integration of distributed generation into the existing centralised energy system. 

The assets planned to be installed on the island focus on load control of the Energy Community: heat pumps provided by Mitsubishi Electric will be monitored/controlled so that energy demand can be shifted or altered. In addition, the installation of electricity storage systems (batteries) from MIDAC will provide flexibility to the grid with an energy storage system, acting as a load (during charging) or as a generator (during discharge). The control system will be centralized through the REACT Platform, which monitors all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and receives information on their limits and the dwellings’ preferences. Although the VPP does not have direct access to DER management (limit of the Italian legislation in force), it is an “information exchange operator” that sends data to the local community enabling the optimisation of individual strategies. The electricity supply for the heat pumps will be matched with the self-generation PV system at prosumer level (single building) when available. The remaining energy demand will be matched with the renewable energy produced by the NASCA plant, considering the energy balance at island level.

Written by: Giulia Carbonari, Raphaelle Papa and Sara Ruffini – R2M Solution